The Conversation: Language matters when Googling controversial people

The Conversation: Language matters when Googling controversial people. “Our recent research showed how Google’s search engine normalizes conspiracy theorists, hate figures and other controversial people by offering neutral and even sometimes positive subtitles. We used virtual private networks (VPNs) to conceal our locations and hide our browsing histories to ensure that search results were not based on our geographical location or search histories. We found, for example, that Alex Jones, ‘the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America,’ is defined as an ‘American radio host,’ while David Icke, who is also known for spreading conspiracies, is described as a ‘former footballer.’”

Just Security: Facebook Provided Warning to FBI Before January 6, GAO Report Reveals

Just Security: Facebook Provided Warning to FBI Before January 6, GAO Report Reveals. “A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that seven federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies were aware of open source information on social media about ‘potential violence’ planned for January 6, 2021. The report suggests that federal agencies had ample authority and information to anticipate and prepare for a violent assault on the Capitol.”

New York Times: I Followed Some of Brazil’s Right-Wing Telegram Groups. I Found a Tide of Madness.

New York Times: I Followed Some of Brazil’s Right-Wing Telegram Groups. I Found a Tide of Madness.. “In Brazil, fake news seems to be something that the population at large seems to fall victim to — Telegram just offers the sort of deepest rabbit hole you can go down. So I knew — from horrible, eye-sapping experience — that for many right-wing activists, fake news has become an article of faith, a weapon of war, the surest way of muddling the public discussion.”

Washington Post: The platform where the right-wing bubble is least likely to pop

Washington Post: The platform where the right-wing bubble is least likely to pop. “Experts who spoke with The Post suggested that Telegram plays an important, if not yet essential, role in the right-wing information ecosystem, offering a respite from scrutiny and moderation. It’s a place where the fringe’s bubble of disinformation and rhetoric can remain unpunctured — which is often precisely the appeal.”

SCOTUS Blog: In lawsuit against Google involving ISIS recruitment videos, a chance for the court to take up Section 230

SCOTUS Blog: In lawsuit against Google involving ISIS recruitment videos, a chance for the court to take up Section 230. “This week we highlight cert petitions that ask the Supreme Court to consider, among other things, whether federal law protects Internet platforms when their algorithms target users and recommend content, in a case alleging that Google aided ISIS’s recruitment through YouTube videos.”

Associated Press: Google, Facebook could face huge fines after new hate speech laws passed in Europe

Associated Press: Google, Facebook could face huge fines after new hate speech laws passed in Europe. “Big tech companies like Google and Facebook parent Meta will have to police their platforms more strictly to better protect European users from hate speech, disinformation and other harmful online content under landmark EU legislation approved early Saturday.”

Reuters: Russian prosecutors ask court to name Meta ‘extremist organization’

Reuters: Russian prosecutors ask court to name Meta ‘extremist organization’ . “Russia opened a criminal case against Facebook’s parent Meta Platforms on Friday and moved to designate it as an ‘extremist organization’ after the social network changed its hate speech rules to allow users to call for violence against Russians in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.”

The National Interest: Online Extremists Are Using Old Technologies for New Purposes

The National Interest: Online Extremists Are Using Old Technologies for New Purposes. “A recent report from Tech Against Terrorism, a research outlet supported by the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, found that a diverse array of violent extremists, from al-Qaeda and ISIS supporters to white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, have side-stepped regulation on social media by returning to self-operated websites, blogs, and forums. While this repurposing of retrograde digital communications technologies might give some observers a sense of deja vu, it nonetheless has major implications for online counter-extremism policy.”

Offline Versus Online Radicalisation: Which is the Bigger Threat? (Global Network on Extremism & Technology)

Global Network on Extremism & Technology: Offline Versus Online Radicalisation: Which is the Bigger Threat?. “Governments, social media companies and the general public are becoming increasingly concerned about the threat of those who are radicalised online and turn to violent extremism. However, the evidence base for this concern is not fully formed. For instance, it is not yet clear if those who are being radicalised offline are still the greater threat. It is particularly important to explore this issue empirically, as large amounts of material resources from both the public and the private sectors may be redirected from offline to online initiatives. This report seeks to explore the differences in outcomes for those who have been primarily radicalised offline versus those radicalised online.”

The Verge: How Facebook Twisted Canada’s Trucker Convoy Into An International Movement

The Verge: How Facebook Twisted Canada’s Trucker Convoy Into An International Movement. “For many Canadians, it’s an overdue end to a chaotic protest that has stifled trade and brought alarming weaponry into otherwise quiet communities. But right-wing supporters have a wildly different view of events: figures like Tucker Carlson have portrayed the convoy as a working-class rebellion, and Trudeau’s response has been treated as enacting martial law, leading Elon Musk to tweet (and then delete) a meme comparing Trudeau to Adolf Hitler. It’s a shocking split, arguably the single most important factor in the protests, and much of it originates in the fractured way information travels online.”

Bureau of Investigative Journalism: Facebook accused by survivors of letting activists incite ethnic massacres with hate and misinformation in Ethiopia

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: Facebook accused by survivors of letting activists incite ethnic massacres with hate and misinformation in Ethiopia. “The company has known for years that it was helping to directly fuel the growing tensions in the country. Many of those fighting misinformation and hate on the ground – fact checkers, journalists, civil society organisations and human rights activists – say Facebook’s support is still far less than it could and should be. A senior member of Ethiopia’s media accused Facebook of ‘just standing by and watching this country fall apart’.”

Media Matters: On Facebook, a Dr. Phil episode about nonbinary identity becomes a bonanza for right-wing hate

Media Matters: On Facebook, a Dr. Phil episode about nonbinary identity becomes a bonanza for right-wing hate. “Right-wing figures, particularly from the Daily Wire, weaponized a January 19 Dr. Phil episode to spread anti-trans hatred and drive Facebook engagement on their posts. The episode posited nonbinary identities as up for ‘debate’ and featured nonbinary people and allies alongside anti-trans parents and the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh.”

ProPublica: Facebook Hosted Surge of Misinformation and Insurrection Threats in Months Leading Up to Jan. 6 Attack, Records Show

ProPublica: Facebook Hosted Surge of Misinformation and Insurrection Threats in Months Leading Up to Jan. 6 Attack, Records Show. “A ProPublica/Washington Post analysis of Facebook posts, internal company documents and interviews, provides the clearest evidence yet that the social media giant played a critical role in spreading lies that fomented the violence of Jan. 6.”